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Creative communities art works in economic development

rban and regional planners, elected officials, and other decisionmakers are increasingly focused on what makes places livable. Access to the arts inevitably
appears high on that list, but knowledge about how culture and the arts can act as a
tool of economic development is sadly lacking. This important sector must be considered not only as a source of amenities or pleasant diversions, but also as a wholly
integrated part of local economies. Employing original data produced through both
quantitative and qualitative research, Creative Communities provides a greater understanding of how art works as an engine for transforming communities.

Contributors: Hasan Bakhshi (Nesta UK), Elisa Barbour (University of California,
Berkeley), Shiri M. Breznitz (Georgia Institute of Technology), Roland J. Kushner
(Muhlenberg College), Rex LaMore (Michigan State University), James Lawton
(Michigan State), Neil Lee (Nesta UK), Richard G. Maloney (Boston University), Ann
Markusen (University of Minnesota), Juan Mateos-Garcia (Nesta UK), Anne Gadwa
Nicodemus (Metris Arts Consulting), Douglas S. Noonan (Indiana University–Purdue
University Indianapolis), Peter Pedroni (Williams College), Amber Peruski (Michigan
State), Michele Root-Bernstein (Michigan State), Robert Root-Bernstein (Michigan
State), Eileen Roraback (Michigan State), Michael Rushton (Indiana University), Lauren Schmitz (New School for Social Research), Jenny Schuetz (University of Southern
California), John Schweitzer (Michigan State), Stephen Sheppard (Williams College),
Megan VanDyke (Michigan State), Gregory H. Wassall (Northeastern University)

Michael Rushton is associate professor in the School of Public and Environ-

mental Affairs at Indiana University, where he directs the program in arts administration. He coedited the Journal of Cultural Economics from 2006 to 2012. Rocco

Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2009 to
2012, is the Tony Award–winning producer of hit Broadway shows such as Angels
in America and The Producers.

Creative Communities

“Without good data and analysis—much of it grounded in economic theory—we
cannot hope to strengthen communities through the arts or to achieve any of the
other goals we set for the National Endowment for the Arts, the largest nationwide
funder of the arts.”
— from the Foreword by Rocco Landesman

Rushton

U

Creative Communities

Creative
Communities
Art Works in Economic
Development
Michael Rushton
EDITOR

Foreword by Rocco Landesman

Sponsored by the National Endowment for The Arts
Washington, D.C.
www.nea.gov

Brookings Institution Press
Washington, D.C.
www.brookings.edu/press
Cover images: © 123RF.com and Dreamstime
Cover by Rich Pottern Design

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Creative
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Creative
Communities

A RT W ORKS IN
E CONOMIC D EVELOPMENT
M ICHAEL R USHTON
EDITOR

Sponsored by the
National Endowment for the Arts,
Office of Research & Analysis

brookings institution press
Washington, D.C.


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about brookings
The Brookings Institution is a private nonprofit organization devoted to research, education, and publication on important issues of domestic and foreign policy. Its principal purpose is to bring the highest quality independent research and analysis to bear
on current and emerging policy problems. Interpretations or conclusions in Brookings
publications should be understood to be solely those of the authors.
Copyright © 2013

the brookings institution
1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
www.brookings.edu
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means without permission in writing from
the Brookings Institution Press.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data
Creative communities : art works in economic development / Michael Rushton, editor.
pages cm
“Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Office of Research and
Analysis.”
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary: “Examines the impacts of arts and cultural consumption and production
on local economies. Topics include location choices of arts entrepreneurs; links
between the arts and non-arts sectors; public policies to foster local arts; and the arts’
effects on incomes in cities across the United States and the United Kingdom”—
Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-0-8157-2473-5 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Artists and community—Economic aspects. 2. Arts—Economic aspects. 3. Art
and state—Economic aspects. 4. Regional economics. 5. Economic development.
I. Rushton, Michael, 1959NX180.A77C73 2013
338.4'77—dc23
2013005090
987654321
Printed on acid-free paper
Typeset in Minion
Composition by Oakland Street Publishing
Arlington, Virginia
Printed by R. R. Donnelley
Harrisonburg, Virginia

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Contents

Foreword
Rocco Landesman

vii

Acknowledgments

xi

1

Introduction
Michael Rushton

1

2

Causal Agents or Canaries in the Coal Mine?
Art Galleries and Neighborhood Change
Jenny Schuetz

3

The Arts, Consumption, and Innovation
36
in Regional Development
Ann Markusen, Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, and Elisa Barbour

4

A Case Study in Cultural Economic Development:
The Adams Arts Program in Massachusetts
Richard G. Maloney and Gregory H. Wassall

60

5

Do Cultural Tax Districts Buttress
Revenue Growth for Arts Organizations?
Lauren Schmitz

80

6

Arts, Crafts, and STEM Innovation: A Network
97
Approach to Understanding the Creative
Knowledge Economy
Robert Root-Bernstein, Rex LaMore, James Lawton,
John Schweitzer, Michele Root-Bernstein, Eileen Roraback,
Amber Peruski, and Megan VanDyke

12

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7

Arts Districts, Universities, and
the Rise of Media Arts
Douglas S. Noonan and Shiri M. Breznitz

118

8

Cultural Enterprise Formation and
Cultural Participation in America’s Counties
Roland J. Kushner

144

9

The Economic Consequences of Cultural Spending
Peter Pedroni and Stephen Sheppard

166

10 Capital of Culture? An Econometric Analysis of the

190

Relationship between Arts and Cultural Clusters,
Wages, and the Creative Economy in English Cities
Hasan Bakhshi, Neil Lee, and Juan Mateos-Garcia
Contributors

217

Index

219

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Foreword

Since I took over as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts
in 2009, I have spent a lot of my time in pursuit of creative placemaking,
which seeks to integrate art and design in community planning and development, build shared spaces for arts engagement and creative expression, and
increase local economic activity through arts and cultural activities. This goal
has borne fruit in national programs such as Our Town, Art Place, and other
NEA-supported initiatives under my tenure.
Another focus of mine for the last four years has been to bolster research
and evidence sharing about the value and impact of the arts in American life.
Without good data and analysis—much of it grounded in economic theory—
we cannot hope to strengthen communities through the arts or to achieve any
of the other goals that we have set for the National Endowment for the Arts,
the largest nationwide funder of the arts. Consequently, I have amped up
resources and expectations for research at the NEA. For example, in October
2012, the NEA’s Office of Research and Analysis published a five-year research
agenda that includes a system map and measurement model for understanding
“how art works.” (See www.nea.gov/research/How-Art-Works/index.html.)
This volume thus marks the convergence of two of my major themes as NEA
chairman: the arts as an engine in transforming communities for the better,
and the arts as an integral, measurable component of the U.S. economy.
In 2011, the NEA’s Office of Research and Analysis issued a public call for
research papers attempting to measure economic activity resulting from “the
creation of arts districts, the construction of performing arts centers and
museums, and arts-favorable tax policies and other incentives for productivity
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and innovation in fields such as architecture and design, visual and performing arts, and literary and media arts.” In its call for papers, the NEA placed special emphasis on New Growth Theory, popularized by Paul Romer and others.
Why the emphasis on New Growth Theory? Admittedly, there have been
numerous well-intentioned and often compelling studies of the arts’ local
economic impact, yet a common weakness has been that it is nearly impossible to tell whether the arts’ effects on, say, local tourism spending could have
been replicated by the introduction of non–arts-related activities—for example, the construction of a sports facility. The argument is not so much that
such studies are overestimating the effects of the arts; rather, a case can be
made that those effects are undervalued, simply because the tools used are not
precise enough to account for the effects independently of other economic
variables.
New Growth, with its assumption that new ideas lead to new economies of
scale without a diminution of resources, seemed a natural fit when discussing
why the arts matter in stark economic terms. In any case, we were prepared to
explore the theory’s potential. And indeed, some of the papers that we received
chose to address the theory in relation to the arts and economic development. Some, but not all: other papers examined links between arts participation and scientific innovation; the effects of cultural tax districts on giving to
the arts; and the impact of per capita cultural spending on local economic
growth, among other topics.
On the strength of those draft papers, the Brookings Institution hosted a
one-day symposium entitled “The Arts, New Growth Theory, and Economic
Development.” Sponsored by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program,
the event featured not only the authors of the chapters that appear in this volume but also the urban economist Edward Glaeser, happiness researcher Carol
Graham, and top officials and analysts from the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Department of Housing
and Urban Development. The agenda and video from that day are available
at www.arts.gov/research/Brookings/index.html.
Where do we go from here? One of the big lessons learned at the Brookings event was that we need long-term, reliable data to more effectively track
the arts’ unique effects on economic development, whether related to New
Growth Theory or not. I am pleased to note that through a historic partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis,
we will have that resource ready for the use of all economists and policymakers
who care about cultural value. Specifically, the NEA and BEA are creating an

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Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account, which, beginning with preliminary estimates later in 2013, will provide annual figures on arts and cultural industry revenues, expenditures, workers, compensation, and value
added to the GDP. This is a landmark opportunity for both the arts and cultural sector and the nation as a whole.
In closing, I wish to thank Michael Rushton of Indiana University for his
editorship of this volume and for his spirited collaboration with us in 2012
when we commissioned the original symposium papers.
Rocco Landesman
Chairman (2009–12)
National Endowment for the Arts


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Acknowledgments

This volume would not have been published and the symposium
where these papers were first presented would not have taken place without
the initiative and support of the National Endowment for the Arts. For their
support of the project from its conception to publication, thanks are due to
Rocco Landesman, Joan Shigekawa, Sunil Iyengar, Ellen Grantham, Bonnie
Nichols, and Joanna Woronkowicz. Many thanks also to the Brookings Institution for hosting the symposium and especially to Bruce Katz of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

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Introduction

This volume presents original research findings on the impacts of cultural consumption and production on local economies. The chapters are
based on papers presented at “The Arts, New Growth Theory, and Economic
Development,” a May 2012 Brookings Institution symposium sponsored by
the National Endowment for the Arts. The central theme of the symposium
was that the arts are not an amenity or a sector that exists in isolation but that
they are wholly integrated into local economies. Indeed, the complex role of
art in local growth is what has made empirical research in the field so challenging and the new research in this volume so welcome to scholars and policymakers who seek to advance public knowledge about the dynamic
relationship between art and economic growth.
The following chapters investigate the arts in local economies from a range
of viewpoints, presenting original data derived from quantitative and qualitative methods. Topics investigated include location choices by arts entrepreneurs; links between the arts and non-arts sectors; public policies to foster
local arts organizations; and the arts’ effects on incomes in cities across the
United States and the United Kingdom. There is no single method of parsing
the complex factors at work, and these chapters should inspire further
research along various lines to advance knowledge about the place of the arts
in economic development. A brief review of the evolution of arts policy and
of thinking about economic growth is presented below, followed by a survey
of the contributions of these chapters and suggestions for future research.

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Public Policy and the Arts
Until around the turn of the twenty-first century, public arts policy in the
United States received relatively little attention. There was enough of a committed interest group to keep public funding of the arts alive at the federal,
state, and local levels, although budgets were generally small; however, the
greatest public support of the arts came from income tax–deductible charitable donations to nonprofit arts organizations, not from public funding.1
Typically, the only time that arts policy was newsworthy was when public
controversy arose over specific works of art that had received, usually indirectly, some form of government support.
In the 1960s, the rationales for direct public funding of the arts tended to
center on the benefits to the public of being able to enjoy fine arts: classical
music, opera, ballet and modern dance, some theater, and the visual arts.2
First, there was the case for equity: the fine arts are part of a fulfilling life that
ought to be made available to all, including those who have low incomes or
who live far from major art centers. Public funding of nonprofit arts organizations could enable those organizations to undertake outreach activities to
underserved populations and to keep ticket prices in check. Second, there was
a rationale based on the potential for market failures in the arts: public subsidies are a means of encouraging the production and consumption of forms
of art that provide public benefits, especially art forms that would be unlikely
to flourish in a purely market-oriented environment. Because the fine arts
provide public as well as private benefits, they do not represent purely private
consumption. For example, people may benefit from my attending the opera
even if they themselves never attend. They might be pleased that the traditions
of operatic performance are being preserved so that they have the option of
attending one day in the future (or that their children and grandchildren have
that option), they might take special pride in knowing that their community
is considered a center of culture, or they may simply feel good because others
in the community are enjoying art of high quality.
However, even those who enjoy the arts a great deal might find those rationales for public funding somewhat weak. If the real concern is about inequality in the United States, are health, education, and housing not more pressing
concerns than art museums and classical music performances? Are the
claimed external benefits of private arts consumption of any significant magnitude, or do they simply represent wishful thinking by those who themselves
happen to value the arts and their associated public subsidies?

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More recently, however, two new kinds of economics-based cases have
been made for active public support of the arts. One is the so-called “economic impact” of the arts. In many studies commissioned by arts advocates,
impact is calculated by measuring direct consumer spending on the arts (usually restricted to the nonprofit sector), then inflated by a Keynesian-style
“multiplier” that generates an estimate of the complete impact on aggregate
income resulting from arts expenditures. Although some arts advocates,
impact studies in hand, proclaim that the arts warrant public subsidy because
of the great amount of total income generated by arts expenditures, the problems with the analysis are clear: the estimated benefits from increased expenditures on the arts do not account for the concomitant reduction in non-arts
expenditures in the public sector (if the increase in arts spending was the
result of a shift in budgetary allocations) or in the private sector (if the
increase in arts spending was financed through a tax increase). The analysis
works on the naïve assumption that an increase in aggregate demand (if
indeed there is one) generates an equal increase in aggregate income, and it
fails to acknowledge that all sectors of the economy, from plumbing and auto
repair businesses to coffee shops, also have an economic impact, yet they do
not obviously warrant public funding as a result.3
But a second class of economic argument deserves to be taken more seriously. Suppose that increased levels of arts activity serve to increase productivity and wages. If such effects could be demonstrated, then indeed public
investments in the arts would have, at least in theory, a solid economic rationale besides any aesthetic case for public support. But by what mechanisms
might the arts in fact increase wages? What evidence is there of such an effect?
The new research studies presented in the chapters in this volume provide
some valuable insights into these questions.
That is not to say that this volume covers the whole of arts policy. Questions surrounding the role of the arts in local economic development are
important, but they must be considered alongside the “old school” arts policy issues that have always been present: what is the appropriate response to
the widely differential access to the arts that arises from individuals’ geographic location or socioeconomic circumstances? What is an appropriate
balance between investing resources in arts education for the young and supporting current artists and organizations? What is the importance of preserving genres of art that could not survive unaided in the marketplace?
These are important questions that go beyond considerations of the arts and
productivity or of attracting the creative class. While the importance of the


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individual issues covered in this volume must be recognized, it is important
not to lose sight of the fact that they are parts of a larger whole.

The Arts and New Growth Theory
“New growth theory” (NGT) arises from theoretical and empirical findings
that first gained traction in the 1980s.4 The key aspects could be listed as follows. First, NGT treats advances in growth-enhancing technology as a result
of the conscious, strategic decisions of individuals, firms, and governments to
invest in the acquisition of skills and knowledge and in potential innovation.
It has long been known that in advanced economies, technological change—
not the accumulation of current-technology physical capital—is responsible
for most of the long-run growth in income per person.5 NGT models technological change (a reason why NGT is often also referred to as “endogenous
growth theory”) rather than treating it as something that simply “happens” to
firms and workers.6
Second, NGT recognizes that new technologies are not perfectly guarded
by the firms that develop them. There are “knowledge spillovers”: firms and
individuals in close proximity to others that are developing new ideas get the
chance to benefit from those ideas. That is one reason why firms and individuals in the knowledge-based sector gain such benefits from locating near
other firms in the sector, thereby forming “clusters.” Visual artists value being
in New York City and songwriters value being in Nashville not only because
there is a thick market of buyers for their products but also because they benefit from being around other painters and songwriters, among whom they
find inspiration and develop their ideas. Furthermore, there can be important
knowledge spillovers between sectors. An implication is that “technology” is
not something that a firm anywhere in the world can simply buy and apply
locally. What workers and machines are capable of producing (and it is productivity that determines income) depends on location, which is one reason
why producers in knowledge-based industries are willing to pay such a high
premium to be able to locate in densely packed cities and why skilled knowledge workers find their productivity and pay highest not where their sort of
talent is scarce, but where it is plentiful.7
Third, unlike the inputs of physical capital and labor, knowledge and
innovation are not subject to decreasing returns. New ideas are non-rival
public goods, and once generated they can be used in a countless number
of firms and applications. That fact helps explain the observation that over
the long term, industrialized countries have seen (the recent recession

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notwithstanding) growth rates in per capita income rise rather than fall
since the Industrial Revolution.8
What then is the place of the arts in contemporary thinking about economic growth? When economists talk about “the arts” in a local economy,
they are talking about a tradable good, one with local production and consumption, imports and exports. Some works of art might be produced
locally—a painting, a music recording—and sold elsewhere. Live performances might attract visitors. There also is local consumption of locally produced art—a painting purchased in a local gallery—as well as imports of
recordings, books, and films. The effects of the arts on productivity in the local
economy could come through consumption or production of the arts or both.
On the arts-consumption side, a vibrant cultural scene, whether based on
local or touring artists, may attract to the city mobile, highly skilled individuals who serve to raise average productivity levels in the immediate term
because of the knowledge and talents that they bring to the local economy and
who in the long run serve to increase the productivity of the broader workforce through interaction and knowledge transfer. That is the essence of so
many cities’ efforts to brand themselves as “cool” and thereby attract those
workers known (not without some controversy over definition and measurement) as the “creative class.”9 The positive effects may accumulate: skilled
workers who could benefit from being around other skilled workers might
migrate to a city that has built up a strong presence of such workers, even if
the new migrants themselves have no interest in the “coolness” of the city—
they simply find benefits in being in proximity to other workers, some of
whom may have been attracted by the city’s cultural life. All of this is not to
suggest that a lively arts scene is the only way for a community to gain appeal
as a residential choice for skilled professionals; good public schools, safe
streets, and outdoor recreation also are important, and for some professionals they will be the primary amenities. But culture certainly matters to a segment of the “creative class,” and therefore it becomes an important
consideration in local economic development policy. Furthermore, the scale
of the cultural sector matters in that a larger cultural scene and potential
audience results in increased possibilities for cultural diversity and specialization. As the cultural sector and its audiences grow, the potential for sustaining more esoteric arts appealing to a smaller part of the local population
is enhanced.
On the arts-production side, consider the effects of local arts production
(even if not for local consumption) on the productivity of the workforce.
First, the arts themselves are an income-generating sector of the economy. As


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a creative industry, the arts benefit from the knowledge spillovers that can
occur when increased numbers of creators work in close proximity. Clusters
in visual art, music recording, publishing, theater, and film production generate jobs and incomes themselves, apart from any effects that they may have
on other sectors of the economy, and the scale and importance of the artsproduction sector in this respect is unfortunately often overlooked.10 Second,
there are cross-sectoral effects, which may occur through direct links—for
example, media and advertising firms draw benefits from locating in cities
with a vibrant artistic production scene. But there also are intangible effects
arising from a more broadly defined “culture of innovation,” whereby a city,
through its working artists, develops an ambience that serves to foster creative
thinking among the greater variety of knowledge workers who reside there.
The possibilities above represent a selection of those regarding the arts
and economic development, but much research remains to be done. The evidence on correlations between clusters of “Bohemian” artists and high-tech
entrepreneurship is just that: evidence on correlations, without much indication of whether new investments in artistic clusters help create new growth in
other knowledge industries.11 The rationale for the symposium that resulted
in the chapters in this book, then, was to get beneath the surface to investigate
relationships between the arts and economic growth, generate new results, and
inspire further research.

New Findings
In chapter 2, Jenny Schuetz brings her analysis down to the level of the city
block, examining new art galleries and their locational choices and effects on
neighborhoods. She looks at galleries in Manhattan, finding that new galleries have a strong preference for locating in what are known to be “gallery
districts” and especially for being close to “star” galleries. She also notes that
they prefer using old building stock or being close to historical districts (lending support to Jane Jacobs’s famous dictum that “old ideas can sometimes use
new buildings . . . new ideas must use old buildings”)12 and that they prefer
locations where there is high population density and high household income.
She finds that “far from seeking out blighted neighborhoods in need of gentrification, galleries prefer to locate in high-amenity neighborhoods that are
likely to attract residential and commercial investment.” She finds the evidence that galleries spur renewal of neighborhoods rather weak; instead, galleries seem to anticipate neighborhood renewal rather than create it.
In chapter 3, Ann Markusen, Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, and Elisa Bradbury, analyzing evidence from California, find that the strength of local arts

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communities is difficult to predict from socioeconomic data. Instead, individuals seem to respond to the availability of the arts, lending credibility to the
claim that arts entrepreneurs and local policymakers willing to invest in capacity building are capable of influencing the spending patterns of locals. This
finding underscores that the economic value of arts production does not lie
solely in its ability to generate a product for export (the so-called “export base
theory”); it can also generate local economic growth and net new jobs within
the region. A local market for the arts can, of course, lead to an export market, but it need not start that way. Investments in the arts generate increased
local incomes by further increasing demand for local goods and services and
by attracting human capital and entrepreneurship to the region.
What might states do to enhance capacity building in the arts at the local
level? In chapter 4, Richard Maloney and Gregory Wassall consider in depth
three Massachusetts communities that have benefited from the state’s John
and Abigail Adams Arts Program for the Creative Economy (Adams Arts).
While it is too soon to be able to say much about the long-term outcomes of
the program, the authors were able to go into those communities and, in
interviews with a variety of local stakeholders, learn about the program’s
implementation. They find that a culture-based local economic development
strategy is not something that can be successfully implemented simply by
having a funded program on offer by the state. To develop a coherent plan that
results in an actual economic strategy requires skilled practitioners who have
the time and energy to devote to the project, in partnership with local organizations and local government.
In chapter 5, Lauren Schmitz turns to another type of local arts funding
program, namely the earmarked tax revenue of Colorado’s Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Earmarked taxes for the arts have become
widespread across the United States as a means of providing somewhat stable
sources of public funding for the arts.13 The tax revenues, which can be based
on sales taxes (as is the SCFD), property taxes, tobacco taxes, hotel/motel
taxes, and others, generally require voter approval by referendum. There is
some research on whether publicly funded grants to arts organizations affect
their ability to raise funds privately; this study asks whether earmarked funding also affects fundraising. Comparing the trends in fundraising for organizations not eligible for SCFD funding with trends for those that are, she finds
no evidence that the earmarked funding “crowds out” earned revenues from
fundraising—a positive argument for using public policy to increase the total
revenues flowing to the nonprofit arts sector.
The next two chapters deal with links between the arts and related,
innovation-based sectors of the economy. In chapter 6, Robert Root-Bernstein


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and his colleagues from Michigan State University survey professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), examining their
artistic experiences when they were children and their current activities for
evidence on whether arts participation influenced their success and level of
innovation in their professional work. In particular, they find that rates of
patenting by STEM professionals and rates of entrepreneurship in founding
new companies were higher when a professional had more of a background
in the arts and participated more in the arts. That is an especially striking
result: despite the popular advocacy for the impact of arts education on other
aspects of students’ academic performance, there is little evidence that goes
beyond the simple correlation that students in schools with high levels of arts
activity score better on tests than students in schools with lower levels of arts
activity. Such studies fail to indicate whether it is the arts that make the difference or whether other factors play a role in the school or the student cohort.
Root-Bernstein and colleagues take individuals who have succeeded academically (well enough to be professionals in a technically demanding field) and
ask about the links between their cultural lives and their subsequent activity
in innovation and patenting. This is clearly a promising avenue for future
studies with new, larger sets of data.
In chapter 7, Douglas Noonan and Shiri Breznitz focus on new media
arts—digital art, computerized animation, and Internet and interactive art—
and on whether cultural districts and research universities lead to increased
activity in that field. Using data from U.S. metropolitan areas, they find that
cultural districts and the presence of major research universities had little
impact on the trend in the share of total employment devoted to arts-related
industries, defined broadly. That said, innovation in media arts was associated
with cities containing cultural districts. There is some evidence that the presence of art schools made a difference in these trends; there also is some evidence that arts-related employment, defined more narrowly, may have been
affected by the presence of research universities, although the results for cultural districts remained unchanged. This finding points to a need for deeper
understanding of cultural districts and for considering exactly what they are
expected to provide for local economies.
In chapter 8, Roland Kushner discusses the local environments most conducive to arts entrepreneurship. Using data since the year 2000 on a sample
of U.S. counties, he examines factors associated with the formation of new
nonprofit arts enterprises. He finds that faster-growing, more densely populated counties whose residents were more highly educated had a higher ratio
of new to old arts organizations. Further, higher cultural spending in the

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Introduction

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county—but not necessarily higher levels of arts philanthropy—tended to
favor new firm growth.
The last two chapters in the volume present analyses that employed econometric techniques, specifically within the context of new growth theory models, to consider the influence of arts activities on local economic growth in the
United States and the United Kingdom. In chapter 9, Peter Pedroni and
Stephen Sheppard embark on an analysis of U.S. cities to examine how investments in nonprofit cultural spending affect per capita income in the long
run, beyond any immediate stimulus effects. The authors model economic
growth for an urban area while explicitly recognizing that investment in the
arts necessarily comes with an opportunity cost. In theory, it is quite possible
for a city to overinvest in the arts, as such investment might come at the
expense of more valuable investments in other infrastructure. That said, the
authors do find a long-term relationship between arts spending and per capita
income: in the median case, a rise in arts spending did in fact lead to a permanent increase in per capita income. (They also find that a rise in per capita
income from some other source tended to lead to permanent increases in
nonprofit arts spending). However, when they look at individual cities, they
find counterexamples, suggesting that overinvestment in the arts might be
more than a theoretical possibility.
In chapter 10, Hasan Bakhshi, Neil Lee, and Juan Mateos-Garcia used data
from cities in the United Kingdom to investigate the impact of the arts on
income. Given that, as noted above, the arts affect the local economy on two
dimensions—by providing opportunities for both arts consumption and arts
production (and influencing other productive sectors through knowledge
spillovers)—the impact of the arts on incomes in the local economy might be
positive or negative: positive when the arts increase the productivity of
employees but negative when the arts make a city such a desirable place to live
that employees are willing to accept lower wages in return for living in an area
that provides such amenities. They used a standard model in which the wage
of an individual is a function of his or her education and experience, variables
capturing the nature of the local economy, and—of particular interest here—
the level of local arts activity. They find that although they observed a simple
positive correlation between wages and arts employment in cities, when they
corrected for individual and local economy characteristics the positive correlation disappeared; indeed, with some measures of cultural employment, the
relationship was negative. In other words, the consumption-side effect of
workers being willing to accept lower wages in exchange for living in an area
with an active cultural scene seems to dominate the production-side effect.


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michael rushton

While that was found to be the case for wages in general, when they looked
only at wages of those working in creative industries, the positive effect
appeared to dominate, lending support to the theory that clustering leads to
knowledge spillovers and productivity gains.

Looking Ahead
Future directions in economic research, like future directions in artistic creation, are to a degree inherently unpredictable: researchers do not know what
new ideas will take hold and spur further works and innovation. They can,
however, at least speculate on which avenues of research hold promise.
First, there is much to be learned about how artists and arts organizations
in a city affect the productivity and growth of other sectors. What art forms
or types of employment matter the most, in what neighboring sectors? Must
the working artists be gathered into a “district,” or can they simply be present
in the same city or metropolitan area, even if dispersed? Are there certain
policies or types of infrastructure that enhance the transmission of productive externalities between the arts and other sectors? What is inside the “black
box” of positive spillovers between the arts and innovation in STEM industries? How does art education make a more innovative engineer? How does a
theater district influence patenting rates? In this volume, Root-Bernstein and
colleagues, Noonan and Breznitz, Pedroni and Sheppard, and Bahkshi and
colleagues all present new findings on such spillovers, and hopefully there
will be more to come.
Second, what policies foster the growth of the arts in local economies?
How does a city ensure that “the arts” is not defined only by a core of longestablished major arts institutions but also includes entrepreneurship, innovation, and competition? Is the opportunity to use the arts as a key
component in economic development strategy restricted only to high-income,
highly educated communities that can rely on existing demand for the arts
and capacity for leadership in the arts, or are possibilities open to other communities, even to those starting with little? What state and local policies best
foster the development of a strong local arts scene? Here the chapters by
Markusen and by Kushner consider the development of local nonprofit capacity in the arts; the chapter by Schuetz looks at entrepreneurial choices by new
galleries; and the chapters by Schmitz and by Maloney and Wassall examine
regional and state policy implementation and effects.
This is an exciting time to be studying the role of the arts in local economic growth. The original research presented in this volume serves as an

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